Arrived Saturday afternoon after seeing all kinds of weather, snow on the mountains, water in the wash, and wind on the nose getting to Quartzsite Arizona. I was the last to arrive, so far. And the Grand Canyon Association group is smaller this year with only six people.
With not particularly nice weather everyone agreed communal dinners could wait until the next night, me making Hungarian goulash. However after dinner we comfortably gathered in the largest RV, 32’ motor home, for John’s birthday cake.
We got lucky Sunday when the wind died down in time for us to sit out for dinner and even enjoy a little campfire for a short while. It never actually rained but the skies continued to look rather threatening.
Monday I took a drive south on US95 to scope out the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge and made a few photo opp stops along the way. The desert floor is hard packed and stony so easy to find a place to park on the BLM land adjacent to the road. Plus there are numerous gravel side roads, just depending on how far you want to get off the beaten path. But pay attention to signs that often alert to the possibility of undetonated ammunition from military operations.
I never walked very far from the road or my truck as the wind blew fiercely. Yet I just had to get away from the power lines that run along both sides of the road. A shame to put that in a photo of such gorgeous landscapes.
I drove only about a mile from pavement to the east of the Stone Cabin towards King Valley. There are other areas in the refuge like Crystal Hill, where I’ve gathered crystals but never camped, and Palm Canyon which I’ve heard in superb. And I wasn’t even off BLM on to the refuge yet.
Oh my! Absolutely gorgeous! Cloudy skies made light dance around on the land making for superb sights, and shooting. Found a delightful place to park for lunch off the King Road not far from the plethora of saguaros, ocotillos and creosote bushes. Still windy so even at 60°F I was bundled up and hung out on the downwind side of the truck and camper soaking in the sights. Mountains all around.
I think the group should gather here next year where there are very few people, a much better signal, and exceedingly quite. Only about 25 miles south of town. I’m definitely going to stay there after Quartzsite, and believe at least two in the group will also.
Reluctantly returned to camp for a superb dinner prepared by Greg and Karry. All day long smoked pork roast which literally melted in my mouth, baked beans, Hawaiian sweet rolls, fruit salad, and for desert cherry cobbler backed in a Dutch oven. We ate in their spacious and warm motorhome.
The camper was still having battery problems, or charging, or solar, or not sure so Tuesday I went to town in search of help. Plus tanks needed dumping and water filled. Rose’s RV Park charged $10 to dump and $1 for four gallon jugs of “filtered city water”. Yea, I don’t use the fresh water tank or system in this old beast because of previous pipe breakage problems. But I need 12v power for lights and to feed the brain on my fridge even running on propane. Made an appointment for trouble shooting at Solar Bill’s for 9am the next day.
Got back to camp just in time for last night’s leftovers for lunch. Then took another drive towards KOFA because I thought the truck would charge the house battery if the solar panel didn’t. The meter for the panel glows red but doesn’t show it’s charging. That night the 12v lights were so dim I gave up and read by headlamp. And really weird is the LED lights didn’t work at all. Internet signal is always uncertain. Thus the quiet from me.
That night Paul made a dinner of black bean and ham soup with salad, bread, and cake for desert. We do eat good in the desert. And we sat outside around the fire for a while because the wind had dropped. Although we still work several layers under the star studded sky. Unfortunately, there were a few folks setting off fireworks and the candle lit bags?
Up early Wednesday for the Solar Bill’s appointment. Got there a little before they opened and parked in front of a large bay door next to another rig, truck and trailer, also waiting. Turns out that Johnny, the service man, and I have a mutual friend from Yarnell. He tests. The old battery bought two years ago is shot but here’s the real problem. I had a 50 watt solar panel that puts out 1 amp/hour, the fridge that draws .6 amp/hr and there’s not enough sunlight hours to keep the battery full. In other words, more power being used than being made. The truck doesn’t charge the camper battery but will be rewired in the future to do that. So I bought a 100 watt panel to replace the old one, and got $30 back on the old panel. This panel puts out 5 amps/hr, plus I bought a bigger battery. Wasn’t a planned expense but had to do it and spent less than expected under $400. And I have power, lights, and a working fridge again. Yipee!!! That took about two hours although I was only charged for 50 minutes of labor.
After lunch I went for a geocache walk with John, my first geocaching experience. We may not have walked even two miles from camp. I know some of you geocache but being totally new to this I didn’t know what to expect. John told me the name of the cache and described it as “tiny” then kept looking at his phone for distance and direction. When we got close I just started looking for something out of place. We were by a barbed-wire fence line not far from the road and John said sometimes their magnetic. So we looked at the nearby metal fence posts. Nope. But then I noticed that only one fence post in the line had rocks piled around the base and low and behold, under those rocks was a small plastic container with a roll of paper inside for geocachers to note date they found this. I was amazed that some people have a custom, small, stamp to use with their “handle”. John had me sign first as I found it then said something to his phone app about “Geogypsy” being the discoverer of her first cache. And then we went on to discover three more nearby. I need to learn more about this now. I downloaded the app on my phone and am officially “geogypsy2u”.
Other than that, hung out with the folks in camp and had yet another delicious dinner made by John and Shirley of chicken alfredo, 4-bean salad, mac and cheese, and multiple choice deserts. And I had lights in the camper to read by although not much signal to get online.
Clear, cold 31°F Thursday morning. Only a light wind. This morning I sit and work on the blog post, editing photos, and thinking I’ll have to drive somewhere else for a signal strong enough to actually post. Maybe another ride to KOFA where there was four bars and a great signal. Saturday is Blogger-Fest and then back out to the KOFA desert and mountains with solar power. I am a happy camper.
Apologies for some not so great photos as post processing on the laptop with terrible reflections makes it difficult to see what I’m doing. Trust me it’s gorgeous out here!